My journey to a better world commenced on Wednesday, 5th Nov 1975 when Mrs. Nirmala Gokarn saw me at the airport and convinced me to stop begging and get trained at the Guild. It made me what I am today.
I was provided accommodation at the Seva Samajam Boys Home and was trained at the Industrial School which was attached. I opted for tailoring and since I am polio afflicted I was trained in cutting. On completion of the course I was placed through the Guild at my first job was at a leather factory as a cutter.
I have come a long way from then. Today I am an industrialist and have a large manufacturing setup, drive my own car and lead a very happy family life. I was indeed fortunate that Mrs. Gokarn saw me at the airport and that changed my life. I remember the Guild of Service with gratitude.
I was admitted to Bala Vihar when my mother suddenly died, brother left home and my father re-married. I could not handle the changes with my weak mental condition.
At Bala Vihar I found a loving and caring home. I learnt reading, writing, money concept and self-help skills. My teacher noted that I liked styling hair and I was enrolled at a beauty salon as a helper to get trained.
Initially the staff at the beauty salon were not welcoming. However they changed their mind on seeing my hard work and eagerness to learn and help. At present I work as a beautician and am earning well. Today, I am happily married and a proud mother.
I continue to be emotionally supported by Bala Vihar. I was termed mentally challenged and forsaken by my family. I consider Bala Vihar to be my true family.
I am Sundari from Virudhunagar district. The people in my village treated me poorly because of my visible disability – severe hunch back. My family was unable to meet the financial needs to support me for further studies.
I came to know about the Guild of Service’s Home for the Handicapped and that they conduct vocational courses for physically handicapped adults. I joined the Home and enrolled for the Medical Lab Technician Course being conducted in association with Kilpauk Medical College. At the Home I was given emotional support and taught that disability does not mean the end of life, it means being ‘differently abled.’
On completion of the Diploma I joined the Karaikudi Government Hospital as a Lab Technician. Today I am well placed and the same neighbours who used to shun and laugh at me now proudly tell my story to others.
Sasikala was a bright and hardworking girl who was assisted through the Family Assistance Scheme since 2006. She completed Class XII from Daniel Thomas Matriculation School and secured 94%. Subsequently she secured admission in Sairam Engineering College, affiliated to Anna University.
She completed B.E. ( Electronics & Communication) in June 2013 and secured employment with one of the top 5 Indian software companies through campus recruitment.
Sasikala’s parents are construction workers with primary school education. Her older brother completed ITI (Dip in Civil Engineering) and works in an architect’s office. Her elder sister completed her M.B.A and works with an International bank. Sasikala’s parents have worked hard to put their children through school and higher education despite their limited means. The Family Assistance Scheme has helped them fulfil the dreams of Sasikala.
My name is J. Saleem and I have no recollection of how I came to Chennai as a 6 year old. A kind samaritan took me to Seva Samajam Children’s Home.
I remember Amma, Mrs. Jayalakshmi Narayanaswami ( Ex-Chairperson, Guild of Service ( Central) ) and the staff welcoming me with open arms. She told me that I did not have to worry anymore and could live and go to school here. At the Home I made many friends who slowly became my brothers and sisters. When I first came to Chennai I only knew Hindi. My brothers and sisters would patiently sit with me after school every evening and teach me Tamil and help me study.
After my HSC I graduated in Hotel Management with financial help from the Home and joined one of the top 5 star hotels in Chennai. In my free time I used to help students. Unfortunately due to poor health I could not continue as a Chef.
Today, I am back at the only Home I know and work as the Child Welfare Officer and P.R.O. I am very happy that at Children’s Home I am able to help so many children find a better future just like I got one when I came to the Home many years ago.